Why it’s brave to admit you watch porn.
There’s no way around it, this is gonna get awkward.
I need to be honest. I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for quite a while. But truthfully, I was too scared to come clean. I have a few things to say here that while incredibly awkward to admit, are very important to consider.
I want to share some of my thoughts about pornography, and how it shapes a man’s life.
Ever since I saw my first nudie magazine at the age of 10, I have had an interesting relationship to porn. At first, it was just an innocent curiosity, but over time, it grew first into a fascination, and then a routine.
Conan O’Brien has a great line when it comes to talking about men and pornography:
“According to a survey, 25% of men say they’ve watched porn online. The survey also revealed that 75% of men are liars.”
That’s right ladies. We men watch porn.
I don’t want to generalize and say every single man does, but the great majority do. Probably like 99.9% have done so or still do it.
I still do it. In fact, I watched it this week. Twice. (I told you this would get awkward)
Why do men watch porn? We do it because it’s fun for us, and we do it because on some level we can’t help it.
Just like women have a weakness for juicy gossip, we men have a weakness for ogling nudie pics. It’s half ingrained and half learned. It’s not our fault, and it’s our fault.
Women are attracted by power and status. A famous man, a man who is a strong leader, a man who has a high quality of life; these men are very difficult for any woman to resist. The same can be said for a man and porn.
It seems awfully shallow, but the truth is men are attracted by physical looks. Its part of our psyche at the deepest stem of the brain. Understand: I’m not saying this to make an excuse, I’m saying this to level the playing field.
Having a weakness and giving into a weakness are two entirely different things. One is unconscious, the other is under our control.
For me, the ‘use’ of porn has never really been a huge part of my life, anymore than the ‘use’ of alcohol is. But lets just say that thanks to the internet I’ve probably looked at just about as many naked women in my life as I’ve consumed beers. (That’s a lot by the way.)
I’m admitting this because I want to take a stand for men like me. Men who value integrity, loyalty and are constantly fighting to live life at a higher standard. For men like me (and I do believe that is the majority of men) the struggle to be a good man is constant.
I think porn is an awkward topic because it is linked to masturbation. And pleasuring oneself is directly linked to shame.
Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly says that shame is only powerful when we don’t talk about it. When we hide our shame, it grows stronger, and slowly eats away our sense of self-worth.
A lot of times when I’d watch porn, I’d feel what I thought was guilt. I’ve since come to understand there is a difference between guilt and shame.
When you do something you think you shouldn’t be doing, this makes you feel guilty. When you start believing that you’re these doing things because you’re a lesser person, this is shame.
Porn for most men is viewed in shameful secrecy. We watch it alone, hunched over computer screens, half hating ourselves and half enjoying the indulgence. We don’t like who we are while doing it, but we still do it.
For me, I realized that porn had less power over me when I openly admitted to people that I watched it. When I hid the behavior, it somehow kept me trapped. The shame cycle made me weaker and eventually I found myself in a state of personal disgust. I’d swear that I’d never look at it again, and then two weeks later I’d be back at it.
I am writing this today for men just like me. I want to tell you something important: you are never going to not want to watch porn. It’s part of your genetics. Worse than this, unless the internet crashes forever, the temptation is always going to be a few clicks away.
But by admitting that you do it, even to one person, it somehow has less power over you.
Shame only has power over you if you keep it airtight. If you choose to be vulnerable, if you admit it to someone, then you’ll start to move past the shame.
I’ll admit it: writing and posting this blog has been terrifying. But it’s also the one I am the most proud of thus far. This is me walking my talk when it comes to being authentic.
By being honest and vulnerable, I am free.
[Originally published on midsonshort.com]